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4:50 PM ET, April 4, 2011

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Kent Walker / The Official Google Blog:
Patents and innovation  —  The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation.  Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything …
RELATED:
Larry Dignan / Between the Lines Blog:
Google bids $900 million for 6,000 Nortel telecom patents  —  Nortel said that it is selling all of its remaining patents and applications for $900 million to Google.  —  With the move, Google gets about 6,000 patents covering wired, wireless and digital communications technologies.
Carolyn Penner / Twitter Blog:
Discover new accounts and search like a pro  —  We've made it easier to find and follow Twitter accounts based on your interests.  When you search for a topic, you can now discover accounts that are relevant to that particular subject.  (Previously, you would have seen accounts that have the specific term in their name or username. )
Sarah Lacy / TechCrunch:
Milk: Kevin Rose's New Company Aims to Solve Big Problems on the Mobile Web  —  Well by Silicon Valley standards, that certainly wasn't a long “stealth” period.  Just weeks after he quit Digg, Kevin Rose is announcing details of his new startup.  Knowing Rose, I can tell why he's so excited to get started.
Zach Epstein / BGR:
AT&T confirms early upgrade price changes for iPhone 4, other smartphones  —  AT&T has confirmed to BGR that it has made changes to early upgrade pricing for its smartphones.  The changes impact customers who wish to upgrade to a new smartphone but are not yet eligible for an upgrade at fully discounted two-year contract prices.
RELATED:
Philip Elmer-DeWitt / Fortune:
Android is a mess, say developers  —  A new survey analyzes the pros and cons of writing for various mobile platforms  —  On the heels of the debate played out over the weekend between Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson and Instapaper's Marco Arment about whether it's wiser to be writing apps for Apple's …
John Paczkowski / Digital Daily:
The MacBook Air: A $2.2 Billion-a-Year “Quasi-Tablet”  —  With all the chatter over the iPad 2, the iPhone 4 and its successor, it's easy to forget that Apple has another ultra-portable device that's doing quite well at market: the MacBook Air.  —  Nearly six months after it launched …
Georgina Prodhan / Reuters:
FT won't give up subscriber relationship to Apple  —  (Reuters) - The Financial Times wants to keep selling subscriptions for its digital news directly to readers rather than surrender control of new customers who sign up via Apple's iPad, the managing director of FT.com said.
Adam Satariano / Bloomberg:
Pandora Discloses Privacy-Related Grand Jury Probe of Apps  —  Pandora Media Inc., the Internet music service, said it had been served with a subpoena in connection with a grand jury probe that may be investigating the information-sharing processes of smartphone applications that run on Apple Inc. and Google Inc.'s Android platforms.
Greg Kumparak / MobileCrunch:
10 Things That Simply Need To Be In iOS 5  —  WWDC.  It's like Christmas for OS X and iOS developers.  Each year, they flock to San Francisco's Moscone Center, anxiously awaiting the pair of gifts that Apple annually bestows: the new iPhone, and a bundle of new features upon which they'll build their next big thing.
Discussion: Technologizer
Greg Bensinger / Bloomberg:
Sprint Plans Tap-and-Go Payment Service This Year to Get a Jump on Rivals  —  Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) plans to start a service this year that will allow customers to make purchases with their mobile phones, ahead of a similar initiative from rivals Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. (T) and T-Mobile USA.
Henry Blodget / The Wire:
IT'S OFFICIAL: AOL Fires Freelancers*  —  A couple of weeks ago, AOL threw its freelance journalists into purgatory:  —  They were supposed to sit tight and wait to hear from their editors on their roles in the post-merger Huffington Post Media Group.  —  The freelancers, naturally …
Kara Swisher / BoomTown:
SB Nation Raids AOL's Engadget for New Tech Content Site  —  Jim Bankoff, the fomer AOL exec responsible for buying Engadget for the Internet portal, has grabbed eight staffers who had recently left the huge tech site amid tensions, in order to start a new gadget property.
RELATED:
Christian Zibreg / 9 to 5 Mac:
After 201 days in review, Apple greenlights iPhone app that unmasks blocked calls (updated with video)  —  Apple's review process has gone a long way since the early days when every day would bring a new story about a controversial rejection.  It's rare nowadays that an app would take longer …
Thomas Ricker / Engadget:
Sony's Howard Stringer confirms Honeycomb tablet in US by summer  —  Ready for a taste of a sweet Honeycomb tablet with a Sony twist?  You'd better be — Japan's Nikkei is quoting Sony chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer, saying that the company's first Android 3.0 tablet will be on sale by the end of summer.
Arik Hesseldahl / NewEnterprise:
Texas Instruments To Acquire National Semiconductor for $6.5 Billion  —  Two of the oldest names in the chip business are about to combine.  About as long as I've known about electronics, I've known of the names Texas Instruments and National Semiconductor.
Tricia Duryee / All Things Digital:
Zynga Appoints DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to Board  —  Zynga is beefing up its board of directors by announcing today that it has added Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO and co-founder of DreamWorks Animation.  —  Katzenberg, who created the animation studio along with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen …
Kara Swisher / BoomTown:
Myspace Bake-Off Starts Wednesday and-Despite Reports-No Bidder in Lead (and No Zynga Interest Either)  —  While no one inside or outside Myspace owner News Corp. expects fireworks and giant piles of money, the tire-kicking for the long-troubled social-networking-turned-entertainment site actually starts Wednesday.
Discussion: Adotas and hypebot
Christian Zibreg / 9 to 5 Mac:
iAd rival: Unofficial app store Cydia lands advertising deal with Toyota  —  Companies are keeping a close eye on the jailbreaking community as at least one big brand demonstrates willingness to advertise on Cydia, the unofficial store for unsanctioned third-party programs which can be installed on jailbroken iPhones, iPods and iPads.
Christian Zibreg / 9 to 5 Mac:
Untethered iOS 4.3.1 jailbreak is out, supports all devices except iPad 2 and Verizon iPhone  —  Fans of jailbreaking have long known that Sundays are traditionally reserved for major iPhone jailbreaks.  Following yesterday's tweet by a team member MuscleNerd, Dev-team released a set …
Jott Blog:
Jott service ending on May 3rd, 2011  —  By now you probably know that we will no longer be offering the Jott service.  We have included below the text of an email we sent to our active customers today.  —  We founded Jott in April of 2006.  In the five years that have followed …
Tom Warren / WinRumors:
Microsoft may announce Silverlight for Xbox next week … Microsoft may be preparing to announce plans to introduce Silverlight for the Xbox 360, WinRumors has learned.  —  The software giant looks set to detail its plans at the MIX11 conference next week in Las Vegas.
Discussion: Electronista and The Next Web, Thanks:tomwarren
Cecilia Kang / Washington Post:
Court dismisses Verizon lawsuit against FCC net neutrality rules  —  A federal appeals court threw out complaints by Verizon Communications and Metro PCS aimed at knocking down Internet access rules by the Federal Communications Commission, saying the lawsuits were filed too early.
Discussion: Ars Technica, DSLreports and GigaOM
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry / SAI:
The Libyan War Derails Letter.ly, Will More .ly Startups Be Threatened?  —  Letter.ly, a startup that helps set up and manage paid email newsletters, had its service briefly shut down by the Libyan war and has had to move its service to the domain Letterly.net.
 
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 More Items: 
Tricia Duryee / eMoney:
Overstock Ends Affiliate Marketing in Four States to Avoid Sales Tax
Discussion: techrockies.com
Matthew Lasar / Ars Technica:
It could be worse: data caps around the world
Discussion: msnbc.com
Nathan Olivarez-Giles / L.A. Times Tech Blog:
Google Street View must obscure faces and license plates in Switzerland, court says
Discussion: Search Engine Land and WebProNews
Digital Chosunilbo:
N.Korean Delegation Inspect Google Headquarters
Ed Bott / Ed Bott's Microsoft Report Blog:
Developer bypasses carriers, delivers Windows Phone update
Leena Rao / TechCrunchIT:
EMC Buys Network Security Monitoring And Analysis Company NetWitness
 Earlier Items: 
Robin Wauters / TechCrunchIT:
Apax Partners Acquires Software Giants Epicor, Activant For Close To $2 Billion
Claire Cain Miller / New York Times:
Promoting Science, and Google, to Students
Discussion: Boing Boing
Audrey Watters / ReadWriteWeb:
What Do Kids Say Is The Biggest Obstacle To Technology At School?
Miguel Helft / New York Times:
Ruling Spurs Effort to Form Digital Public Library
Discussion: Fast Company
Mark Milian / CNN:
Why Nintendo isn't making a phone
B.L. Ochman / AdAge:
Most Fortune 50 Brands Still Hiding Their Social Media
Sarah Lacy / TechCrunch:
How We All Missed Web 2.0′s “Netscape Moment”
Discussion: broadstuff